ThinkFast: November 25, 2009

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"ThinkFast: November 25, 2009"

Obama

The latest USA Today/Gallup poll has found that public confidence in President Obama’s handling of the war in Afghanistan has plummeted. The poll finds that 55% disapprove of the way he is handling Afghanistan, and only 35% approve, a sharp reversal from his 56% approval rating four months ago.

The USA Today/Gallup poll also finds 42% of Americans are opposed to the passage of a health reform bill this year, while only 35% support it. Similarly, a recent CBS News poll reports only 40% approve of the proposed health care plans, while 45% disapprove.

The percentage of Americans who believe global warming is happening has dipped from 80 to 72 percent in the past year,” but “a majority still support a national cap on greenhouse gas emissions.” The increase in climate skepticism “is driven largely by a shift within the GOP.”

Senior Fed officials “expect the unemployment rate to remain in the 6.8 to 7.5 percent range at the end of 2012 and said it could take ‘about five or six years’ from now for economic activity to return to normal.”

Phillip Carter, the Defense Department official in charge of closing the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, “has resigned after only seven months in the job.” Carter resigned last Friday for “personal reasons.”

The White House is considering launching a bipartisan commission to analyze and propose solutions for the country’s deficit. White House officials met with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) to discuss such a proposal yesterday.

Although Lou Dobbs has said he may be open to a presidential run, his spokesman is now saying the New Jersey Senate race is more likely. “I think Lou is realistically saying, that’s a long way off, but if he did run for office there’d have to be an intermediary step, such as the Menendez seat,” said his spokesman, referring to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “kept the door open Tuesday to a proposal by several senior House Democrats to impose a graduated surtax on American taxpayers to finance the war in Afghanistan.” She cited “serious unrest in our Caucus” about the cost of the war.

President Obama sent a letter to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Sunday “reiterating the American position on Iran’s nuclear program, a day before Iran’s president made his first state visit to Brazil.” Obama didn’t “explicitly criticize” Lula for hosting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but expressed hope that the occasion would be used to support “the international effort to forge a compromise on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

And finally: Spotted: Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) shopping in the lingerie department at Filene’s Basement in downtown D.C. According to Roll Call, “the sex-scandal-scarred Louisiana Republican looked ‘a bit lost’ amid the ladies’ unmentionables.”

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